So says Lady Isabel to her uncle, Lord Mount Severn, when he finds her living in Grenoble in the November 1860 installment of East Lynne. Her plan, as the narrator explains earlier in the novel, is to “Put the child out to nurse, conceal her name, and go out as governess in a French or German family” (349). Not surprisingly, Lord Mount Severn is not keen to have his niece work for a living; he admonishes her not to “add romantic folly to [her] other mistakes” and inquires, “And how much did you anticipate the teaching would bring you in?” (361). Isabel’s uncertain response is “A hundred a year, perhaps: I am very clever at music and singing. That sum might keep us, I fancy, even if I only went out by day” (361). Her uncle then announces that she “shall have that sum every quarter,” or £400 a year, which is far more than a governess would earn. But is Isabel correct when she speculates that she could £100 a year as a governess?
Below is an article from an 1843 issue of Punch, commenting on an advertisement for a governess published in the Times. According to the article, how much would a governess make a year if she were to accept employment as a morning daily governess for the Islington family? How much would she make if she found “two other employers of equal liberality” to work for as well? According to the article, how does a governess’s salary compare to that of a housemaid? According to your currency handout, how does a governess’s salary compare to other salaries? How does the Punch article compare to this post about teaching that has been circulating on social media?
You needn’t limit yourself to answering these questions in your comments. If you have other relevant comments to make about the article, please feel free to do so.
DUE DATE: Monday, April 3